Adenborg, Ozzie-We Came To Rock: The Official Pretty Maids Journals (Book Review)

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Reviewed: January, 2022
Published: 2021, Savage Heart
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: JP

I suspect that many North American fans like myself were first exposed to Pretty Maids with the release of the first video and single ‘Future World’ from the album of the same name.   I recall so clearly the video and the first time I saw it.  I had taped our local music video show ‘The Power Hour’ which aired on Much Music, our national music video station.  I was living in Toronto, Ontario at the time and I came home from school and watched the episode I had recorded for that day.  It had become a bit of a ritual.

When I saw ‘Future World’ I was just blown away.  It was heavy and melodic at the same time.  It had more balls, speed and power than the regular rotation of Def Leppard and Motley Crue videos but more melody and style than the same old videos by Venom that seemed to be in heavy rotation at the time.  Ronnie’s voice had grit and power, Ken Hammers guitars shredded and they looked cool to me. I watched that video a lot.

Pretty Maids, this ‘obscure’ band from Denmark quickly became one of my top bands.  I had read about them, dome positive reviews but this was my first exposure. Now in hindsight, they weren’t really ‘obscure’, they had a video and were on a major label and it was easy to find their record in the stores but compared to everyone raving about Whitesnake and Bon Jovi me and a few of the boys really loved these guys.  The bands career in North America was short-lived, with only one more album really getting any sort of attention in terms of distribution, but I always continued to follow them.   Today they remain one of my top bands and I have a pretty comprehensive collection of Pretty Maids releases.  You can imagine my delight when late in 2021 when I discovered that an uber fan had written the ultimate Pretty Maids biography. Before long I had my very own copy!

Ozzie Adenberg is a Swede who happens to love the band and she has created the ultimate tribute called WE CAME TO ROCK! THE OFFICIAL PRETTY MAIDS JOURNALS and let me tell you it is a gorgeous publication. It is celebrating 40 years of the band and the timing could not be better.

This is clearly a lifetime labour of love.   This massive, hard cover coffee table book is over 370 pages long, printed in full colour on glossy paper. It’s unique shape makes it stand out as well. This has everything you could ever want to know and more.  I mean everything; a massive and comprehensive discography, a tour history/gig guide all 600+ gigs of where and when, all the songs, interviews, reviews and more.  We get an overview of the bands massive popularity in Japan. We get an analysis of the many cover songs they have done over the years. There is also a bibliography, notes, intro, outro and so on.   The whole thing is anchored by the biography of the band which is full endorsed and authorized. The actual biography itself is over 160 pages long, album by album, from Day One.

The level of detail is almost obsessive, down to which flights the band took to shows, which hotel they stayed at, where they ate; it is obvious someone smart kept all the old tour itineraries and spun them into good use.  The whole idea started years ago by Ozzie as a casual guide for fans in the Denmark area but it grew and grew into the monster that it is today. Thanks to this book, the really die-hard can now go look at the houses where various members grew up or read about what bullet train the band took in Japan back in 2001. I found ,as a North American fan, it was so interesting to read about all the success they had; big budget video shoots, press tours, photo shoots for magazines, countless interviews, how many rock mags they graced the cover of; the complete package.

WE CAME TO ROCK! THE OFFICIAL PRETTY MAIDS JOURNALS is utterly gorgeous.  The layout, the design, the photos, hundreds and hundreds of the, this visual biography is stunning and will make you sit back and say…’Wow’.  There are images of everything you could want, rare pressings, ticket stubs, flyers, magazine covers, articles, backstage passes and interviews, box-sets, live concert shots, casual goofing around photos and much more.  Even fans who know very little about the band could flip through this book and say, ‘Holy these guys were huge!’, even though the perception may be a little different.

This brings me to a little side-point.  The prevailing wisdom is often (even by the author’s own admission) is that the band never ‘quite’ made it.  Industry decisions, poor management, recording delays, injuries, line-up changes, all combined to conspire that the band should have been bigger.  Even the band grumbles about it!   While there is some merit to that idea, I have a more positive outlook.  At what point does a band as successful as Pretty Maids say, ‘We did it!”  They were on a major label for years.  They shot multiple, big-budget videos. They had international hit singles. They went on huge tours with huge bands like Deep Purple!  They were worshipped like gods in Japan.  They have a 40-year career with sixteen studio albums.  Pretty Maids achieved more success and accomplished more than 98% of the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands on the planet. Most bands would kill to get to the level of Pretty Maids and yet and I feel this book proves my point.  It’s a celebration of a magnificent career, not a look at what could have or should have been.

I’m so happy to own this book and so pleased that it came out when it did.  I follow the Metal scene quite closely and each year more and more Metal artists die or announce that they are very sick.  It happens almost every day that there is an announcement along those lines.  The reality is, many of the musical heroes of my youth are aging, going into their 60’s and 70’s. It happens so often I have become almost numb to the almost daily bad news.  However, when Ronnie Atkins announced via press release that he had cancer, it hit me pretty hard, harder than most celebrity ‘rock star’ deaths.  After a short reprieve, I was delighted to learn his health was improving.  My happiness was short-lived.  Ronnie Atkins, the singer and founder is sick and has limited time now.  It saddens to me to think there will likely never be another Pretty Maids studio album and I will never get to see them live.

This book serves as a beautiful tribute to the band I have loved for so many years. It is the perfect exclamation point on a superb career. I rate this book very highly, not only for my own personal nostalgia for the band but because it is such a high-quality effort.  Even if I didn’t love the band I would be extremely impressed by this authorized biography. It is top notch in every respect. If you are one of many North Americans who maybe only remember the band from a couple of albums from the 80’s, this would be a great place to start your exploration of the band. If you are a die-hard fan you cannot not miss owning this fine tribute to Pretty Maids.